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Section: Stories   Category: Gedolim Biographies
The Ramban - Guardian & Defender Of Tradition
Mekubal, Posek HaDor, Defender of the Torah, and Defender of Talmidei Chachomim, prolific writer, and Doctor.  These are but a few of the things that the Ramban, Rav Moshe ben Nachman, was known for.

The Ramban was born in Gerona, Spain in 1194 into a prominent family of Rabbonim and was a relative of Rabbeinu Yonah.  He was a talmid of the leading rabbonim of his day and also learned kabbala which, in those days, was only given over by mesorah to Yechidei Segula.  While yet a teenager, the Ramban wrote halachos in the style of the Rif on two masechtos that the Rif omitted.  The Ramban spent most of his life teaching Torah and answering questions from all over Spain and beyond its borders.  His talmidim included the Rashba, the Ra'ah, who in turn passed the mesorah onto the great Rishonim who led future generations of the glorious Spanish Jewry.

In 1238 when the storm was raging against the Rambam and his Moreh Nevuchim, the Ramban was asked to give his opinion.  The Ramban praised Rav Shlomo of Montpelier who led the attack on the Rambam, yet at the same time he defended the Rambam's halachic work and explained the true purpose of the Moreh Nevuchim while discouraging its study among the masses.  It was also only meant for the Spanish mind and approach and not for the French and German Jews.  The Ramban also produced two work called Milchamos HaShem and Sefer HaZechus, defending the Rif from attacks by the Ba'al HaMaor and the Ra'avad respectively.  Another sefer he authored called HaSagos HaRamban defended the Bahag from the attacks of the Rambam in his Sefer HaMitzvos.

In 1263 during a time when Spanish Jewry faced attacks from the Church the Ramban was called upon by King James of Aragon to a religious debate with the Meshumad Pablo Christiani, before the King himself and many Church dignitaries.  The debate centered around the question of the Moshiach of the Jews, if he had already come, and was he a mortal or a divinity.  The Ramban won the debate as judged by the King and was awarded three hundred gold coins and even came to visit him in his Bais Knesses the following Shabbos.  The aftermath was not victory for Spanish Jewry but further persecution until the Ramban himself, with pressure applied to the King from the Church, was expelled from the Kingdom of Aragon under the control of King James.

At he age of 69 the Ramban wandered around the Kingdom of Castille and Provence to the North of Spain and the South of France, for three years.  It was during this period that he began writing his famous Peirush on Chumash.  At age 72 the Ramban finally bid his homeland farewell forever and set forth on a journey to Eretz Yisroel.  After finding Yerushalayim in a state of destruction from the abuses of the crusaders, the Ramban helped revive the city and it Jewish community before settling in Acco which was then a torah center.  During his time in Acco he kept in close contact with his family and completed his peirush on Chumash.  The Ramban also wrote a peirush on Shas, Shaar HeGemul on reward and punishment, Sefer HaGeula on the coming of Moshiach, as well as Igeres HaMussar  the famous letter to his son which some people read every week, and many other seforim.  His also wrote an exact account of his debate before the King and called it Sefer Havikuach.

The Rambam was niftar 11 Nisan 5030/1270, three years after he arrived in Eretz Yisroel.  His kever remains a source of dispute as some say he is buried in Chevron near the Me'oras HaMachpela, other say in Yerushalayim, while some contend that he is buried in Acco.  For us the debate is less significant as the Ramban lives on and on through his works and the profound impact he has made on Klal Yisroel for all generations.  Yehi Zichro Boruch!
RELATED ARTICLES:biography  mekubalim  Ramban  Spain

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